July 17, 1932 – April 16, 2020

 

Neal Walter Meister, 87, of St. Cloud, Minnesota, entered heaven on April 16, surrounded by his wife Lois and members of his family.

Born in 1932, in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Neal was the youngest son of Francis (Schuessler) and Walter Meister. Walter was employed by regional department store chain, and, as a result, Neal grew up in many different towns throughout the Midwest. In 1947, his family moved to St. Cloud. It was at Central Junior High School’s St. Patrick’s Day dance that he first met Lois Mae Nelson. From that moment forward, and over the next 75 years, they would be inseparable, and their relationship would blossom into an extraordinary story of a love and devotion. Soon after graduating from St. Cloud Tech in 1951, Neal and Lois were married October 16, 1951 at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in St. Cloud.

At age 18, Neal began working as a stock boy at Metzroth’s Clothing Company, which had a long and rich tradition of service in the St. Cloud area. Eventually he became Vice President and co-owner of the company. Spanning over five decades, Neal’s long and successful retail career enabled him serve customers and make lifelong friends throughout central Minnesota and beyond.

Above all, Neal and Lois’s life together was devoted to two things: Faith and Family. They were longtime members of Faith Lutheran Church and, later, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, both of St. Cloud. For many years, Neal taught Sunday School, served as a church Elder, and served in many other leadership roles in both churches.

In the fifth chapter of Colossians, the Apostle Paul speaks of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Kindness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control. Though Neal would gently dissent, those who knew him would probably say that he personified each of those qualities about as well as any man could. Lois, his children, and the entire family praise God for his life, and for the assurance that he now rests safely in the arms of his Lord Jesus Christ. Paraphrasing the Paul’s second letter to Timothy, dearest Neal, you have fought the good fight, you have finished the race, you have kept the faith. And now there is in store for you the crown of righteousness, which the Lord has awarded you.

Toward the end of his life, Neal was not able to easily converse and communicate. But during every visit to their home, or at the end of every phone call, he found a way to tell us, “I love you; I love you very very much.” We love you, too, and we will see you again.

Neal is survived by his beloved wife of 69 years, Lois; children Thomas (Gail), William (Karen), and Kathryn (Thomas). He is also survived by grandchildren Andrew (Sarah), Maren, Madeline, Julia, Anna, David (Sarah), and Timothy; and great-grandchildren Jacob, Adley, Presley, Darby, and Lilah.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Francis Meister, and brothers Robert and James.

The family wishes to express their profound thanks to Dr. Leslie Lofgren and CentraCare Home Care and Hospice for their wonderful care and support.